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Do you ever regret giving up work?

34 replies

joanne1062 · 18/11/2019 21:47

Since returning from maternity leave  for the second time I have decreased my hours significantly which means I have to squash a lot into a little time. I’m really struggling with the work life balance and feel like I can’t find a happy medium. I’m thinking of handing my notice in. My husband earns enough to support us and I also run a self catering unit which earns a good amount annually.
I just don’t know if the right thing is to hand my notice in, I wonder if i will regret it in the long run. So basically has anyone regretted leaving work or was it the best thing for your family?

OP posts:
BeanBag7 · 18/11/2019 21:49

I have only been a SAHP for 18 months but I have no regrets. However I'm not completely unemployed - I'm a teacher and do 3-4 hours a week private tutoring to keep my skills up - and I think I would be a bit less happy if I had given up work completely.

JoJoSM2 · 19/11/2019 16:07

For me, it would depend it you can have s comfortable lifestyle and pay into your pension etc. I’m happy being a SAHM but our finances are sorted. I have also taken up hobbies and hope to learn new things so there’s more to life than being a SAHM.

InDubiousBattle · 21/11/2019 14:13

I've been a SAHM for almost 6 years and don't regret it at all. My youngest has started school now so I'm returning to work after Christmas and I'm a bit sad that this period of being a SAHM is over.

90schic · 29/11/2019 13:54

Sometimes. When I have a bad day. Whatever choice you make you will fantasise about the other at times OP. But tbh, and I don’t want to sound too upfront, I don’t think anyone on their deathbed regretted spending too much time with their kids. Especially in the early years that go by so fast. That’s just my personal opinion. But them I’m a lazy butt plug who hated my old job and couldn’t wait to run for the hills Grin I’m sure other people feel different xx

Simonfromharlow · 29/11/2019 13:57

Yes I do regret giving up work. I enjoyed being a sahm for a couple of years but then grew to hate it. Ended up splitting up with my husband and after 7 years out of the job market I was right at the bottom of the pile.

TheRealMummyPig · 15/01/2020 02:38

I'm currently a SAHM to a three year DD and 9 month old DS. I didn't go back to work in between the children so I've been at home over three years.

I'm starting to feel like I want to go back part time because I find it a bit stressful and monotonous being at home full time.

However, my husband works away a lot in a high pressure job and has made it clear he won't have any capacity to pick up any extra household tasks/childcare if I go back to work. So it would be up to me to keep managing the all the household and child related stuff (e.g the full mental load!)

My potential earnings would nearly all be taken up in childcare costs.

Don't know if I would be jumping from the frying pan into the fire by going back to work 2-3 days a week?

Coughy4u · 15/01/2020 03:40

I stayed at home and i regret it. Took me ages to get back to work and i had to start at a lower stage for my age. The sweet spot is self employment or part time, neither were an option then. If you have a business, you wouldnt exactly be sahp as youd still be working.
We didbt need the money as dh earns highly but it was more for my MH. Incidentaly im really unhappy at work now and DC hate being in childcare as their days are longer. Im too shattered on weekends we dont do anything fun.
All my wages go to savings.
My point is, youd still have stuff to put on your cv, still have some outlet and identity and independence... its not a true comparison of a sahp. Go for it.

MarchBorn · 15/01/2020 04:15

I was a sahp for several years, I have mixed feelings. On one hand I enjoyed much of it, being able to do what I liked with the children and hang out with friends all the time. My job was also too big to easily fit in around family so would have become all consuming. I feel like our family hugely benefited from having me at home. I was a good sahp, but I wasn’t always happy.

On the other hand I have hated much of the monotony. I found the longer I was here the more I was doing in terms of housework and running everyone’s lives and the less I was doing with the kids. It’s not all idyllic quality time together, in fact only a fraction is. My role was simply to enable everyone else’s lives (their cooking, cleaning, washing, diary, admin, entertainment etc), and I found myself bored utterly senseless with the endless talk of schools, housework, car seats, cooking and general drudgery from other (very lovely) sahps. Occasionally someone would break out into a conversation about the gym but overall whenever I tried to talk about non family related things it quickly returned to them, I really felt I was lacking depth I my life. Your life becomes consumed by daily tasks.

I retrained and went back to work a couple of years ago and love it. It gives me a sense of purpose, of future, of self and of confidence that I was desperately lacking. I’m lucky I have the support (financial and otherwise) from a great DH to do this as I earn about 20% of what I used to (was a high earner, now PT in different industry). However, my role has huge potential to expand in future whilst not compromising my time with kids.

So in a nutshell, I’m glad I took time out. It was hard trying to work out how to return to work but nowhere near as hard as it was facing the monotony of every day, no matter how much I loved my family. It made me sad to associate my time with them with drudgery.

I think if you either have a job that you can easily return to, or else the confidence to put yourself out there later to construct something new for yourself when the time comes that you feel ready (having the will to do this is more important than what it is) then you won’t regret some time out and your family will love it. However be warned your DH and kids will quickly evolve into it as well, and you’ll find much of your new time doing tasks for them that you didn’t even know needed to be done.

TarnBlue · 15/01/2020 04:26

@TheRealMummyPig DH has made it clear he won't have any capacity to pick up any extra household tasks/childcare if I go back to work.

This is absolutely not ok, but you know that. My DH said as much but has adapted because he sees how happy it makes me. I would have been utterly miserable to live with at home as I basically resented. Evoking everyone’s maid, including his. I now have 95% of the mental load rather than 100%, it doesn’t sound a big difference but it does help and I’m nicer to live with. You only really have the childcare costs I the early years, whereas your career is your future.

He can’t trap you into a role you don’t want like that though, no matter how big his job. I suspect few of us married our DHs to become a housemaid they occasionally have sex with! Families work together to make each other happy, and change happens. Humans are amazing at adapting, you just have to know why you’re doing it.

TarnBlue · 15/01/2020 04:32

*being everyone’s maid

(I also went back to work after about 4 years at home)

TheRealMummyPig · 15/01/2020 05:17

How did you find the re-training period? Were you paying to retrain as well as for childcare?

MarchBorn · 15/01/2020 05:20

Yes, paying for both. I see it as an investment that will be paid back in many ways in future. Oldest DC had started school, youngest was in nursery

MarchBorn · 15/01/2020 05:21

I loved it!

Finfintytint · 15/01/2020 05:41

TheRealMummyPig, it’s sad that your DH has said that. Why does he get to be the important one and keep his career? He is trapping you. I’d be getting myself back into work and the family can adapt accordingly.

WendyMoiraAngelaDarling · 15/01/2020 05:45

I did once my ex H became financially abusive and clearly resented having to support me despite him being on a huge salary - for the job he was doing anyway. It was his idea that I leave work and I was happy with it till that point. Then our child was diagnosed with additional needs and I wasn't able to go back to work at all. I have drummed into my daughter to always earn her own money and never be dependent on anyone. It caused me many years of misery having to depend on him.

TheRealMummyPig · 15/01/2020 07:27

How did you find it doing 95% of mental load plus working? It almost sounds more daunting than just doing 100% of household/childcare mental load ...I'd be worried about being beholden to an employer as well as my family and being the only one to be called when kids are sick if DH is away...

TheRealMummyPig · 15/01/2020 07:32

Yes it is a bit sad, I know!! It began when we lived as expats in Singapore and I couldn't find work, my career took a back seat and then I had children after we left Singapore. We started out on equal career terms when we first got together and I used to out earn him. Now it's been many years of prioritising his career while I focused on other things. I know we'd adjust over time (I hope), I just don't want to be a mug who ends up working hard at work and then getting stuck doing everything at home too...

TarnBlue · 15/01/2020 07:32

I enjoy the work so it’s worthwhile. Also there’s a lot less to be done when everyone is out of the house (especially if they’re eating elsewhere too). Half the job of being a SAHP is tidying the same thing you tidied half an hour ago, so that is reduced!

IdiotInDisguise · 15/01/2020 07:39

It is my only regret in life. Frankly, your kids won’t remember how many things you did with them in your time off, your career won’t recover and someway your husband will start assuming the children are your work.

It can come to a point that you cannot even end a bad marriage because you can’t afford to keep a roof over yourself or the kids. Putting all the financial responsibility to keep you on other person may be a life changing decision, you no longer own yourself.

IdiotInDisguise · 15/01/2020 07:45

my husband works away a lot in a high pressure job and has made it clear he won't have any capacity to pick up any extra household tasks/childcare if I go back to work. So it would be up to me to keep managing the all the household and child related stuff (e.g the full mental load!)

It was the same with mine. Interestingly, it only took 2 weeks after we split for me to realise that O had FAR less work doing everything still on my own without a husband who hardly help. In a nutshell, when we split I kept my job, my child and the financial responsibilities but handed notice on being his PA, cook and his maid.

BeepOpsiePie · 15/01/2020 07:46

No, I feel like I'm retired already aged 29 Grin I will readily admit that I am lazy when it comes to employment and I'm happy that I don't have to work now.

Being a SAHM to two young kids has been harder work in some ways than when I worked and had one kid, but on the other hand I have a lot more freedom over what I do with my days, and it's definitely getting easier now the youngest is over 2 and happy to play independently while I get things done.

I might do some kind of casual/part time work in future, like tutoring, but I don't think I'd go back into full time employment again.

IdiotInDisguise · 15/01/2020 07:49

Bear in mind as well that you and your husband got together because you had a good number of things in common. Those things in common start to fade when he continue to move on in his career meeting interesting people and you can only talk about domestic stuff.


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TolpuddleFarter · 15/01/2020 07:52

I have been a SAHM for five years now. I gave up work when mine were little as I couldn't manage the balance, and now they are at school.

Absolutely no regrets. I've pared down on a lot in life (to enable me to afford to stay at home!) And it has made me much happier! I get to spend school holidays with my children, which means they get a meaningful break from school. I feel me and my children are very close emotionally - that may have been the case had I been working though.

(I would add that my DH is very supportive, which also contributes to staying at home being a success - I have access to all his/our money.)

Other people seem more worried about how my life is going than I do. My friends worry that my brain is going to shrivel up, and I'll be out of the game too long and ruin my career. Unfortunately, I've learned in life nothing is guaranteed, so I don't and won't worry about the future in that regard.

TolpuddleFarter · 15/01/2020 07:54

Just to add - my career did not define me as a person. Me and DH still have lots in common and talk about (mostly because I'm a politics nut and like to talk current affairs at him when he walks in the door Grin)

MsTSwift · 15/01/2020 07:55

Best decision I ever made. Had 6 years with my kids then set up my own business. However I was unhappy in my big corporate job anyway so the question very subjective op

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